Saturday, April 4, 2009

Tonga!

As many of you know we finally went to Tonga! It really was a last minute decision prompted by my dad. We have been struggling to find jobs and it seemed like that might be our best chance to go. Its much better to go when you don't have jobs so you can actually leave. Besides that I'm pregnant (girl!) and the next time we go it will only cost more money. So we went! Everyone has been asking how it was. I can sum it up on three letters...HOT! It was also very beautiful as you will see from the pictures. It was so nice to finally meet my inlaws. They were very hospitable. We even got our own room to stay in and got to sleep in a bed. Joe was so happy to see his family. It has been very hard for him to be away. It had been eight years since he had been home last. There were a lot of tears when we arrived and twice as many when we left.

Tonga, for those of you who don't know is a very tiny island in the South Pacific. They are a day minus 4 hours ahead of us. So on a birthday you would have to call the day before. While we were there we experienced a very small but strong earth quake. As I mentioned before the weather is very hot and humid. When you take a shower you can't seem to dry off. It rained off and on like it does here only in much larger quantities. Even when it rained it was hot. All the kids, and Joe, enjoyed playing and dancing out in the rain. People there save the rain water in big concrete tanks. The water comes off their tin roof and goes through a gutter connecting to the tank. To use the water you have to get a bucket with a long rope attached and dip down into the tank. They also had water from the tap in the house but it was very inconsistent. It worked in the day and would be shut off in the evening. One never knows when that will be however. There is also no hot water. So imagine taking a shower for three weeks in cold water! Other nice amenities missing from Tonga, or at least from Joe's parents house are, a refrigerator, dishwasher, oven (they use a camp stove with a propane tank), and a washing machine. We washed our clothes by hand and ended up trashing some of Kalo's clothes when we got back. She was always covered in dirt.

One thing that was difficult for me was the amount and size of the critters that we lived with. Cockroaches get very large! We also were visited by very large lizards in the evening and night time. They wandered all over the ceiling and walls eating bugs. That is a good thing I guess. Joe's family owns a lot of pigs and chickens. None of the animals are in any sort of cage. They roam freely wherever they wish. Kalo loved this. She chased the pigs and chickens all day! Her grandpa would take her with him to feed the pigs and taught her how to call them to eat. They say, "Ma, ma!" So Kalo would run all over the yard shouting, "ma, ma, ma!" Even now at home she still says that when she sees a pig in our books. She really loved her grandpa. He took her with him around the yard and to feed his cows. Siosi doesn't have the same appreciation for dirty animals that Kalo does. She laid on the dogs and threw the cat around. Kalo cried and cried when Grandpa left her with us to feed the last cow. She has no fear! Siosi is more of a lady and much more delicate. Some people commented that Siosi was a paalangi (white person) and Kalo was Tongan. Also because Siosi burned and Kalo never did. She is about the same color as Joe now.

And now the news you've all been waiting for. Yes, Joe climbed a coconut tree. Too of them actually. I thought he was going to die and I would be going home without him. He seemed to have not forgotten a thing although he claims to have been much faster as a youth. I have it on film but not on camera. If anyone wants to see it sometime just let me know. We had a blast playing on the beach. The water is warm and the waves are very small.

These pictures are not in order unfortunately. Good luck!
Kalo's usual tried, hot look.
Latu, Joe's sister.

The beach Joe grew up playing on.


Grandpa Havili with the girls.



Joe with parentals.




The family with a few cousins.





This is the immediate family. We are missing Joe's brother who lives in New Zealand, and his youngest sister. We think she was at school.







Joe and Kalo with Great Grandma Tupou, Grandpa's mother.






Joe, Kalo, Latu (Joe's sister).









Guess who!? Joe at 12months!








Kalo!






















Me and the kids. So hot!












Grandpa and Kalo feeding the cows.













Grandma and Kalo!














Joe wanted to show how a wild coconut grows. When the coconut falls it just starts taking root on its own.















Someone brought us this fish.
















Siosi enjoying her drink of choice. The girls drank tons of coconut milk.


















The backyard.

















We got to go to the temple! Joe's parents watched the girls so we could go. Joe is the only member of our church.



















This coconut tree is illegal to pick coconuts from because of the unusual way it grew.





















Tongan temple.




















On our way to a buffet lunch at a resort. We spent the weekend with Joe's Uncle who works for the Tongan government. His aunt gave us the royal treatment while there. She fed us, let us wash our clothes in her washing machine, bought toys for the girls, took us to an island to swim all day, and even bought a fan for us to use.














































This is the island we went to for the day. We rode in that boat. It was about 15 min away from the main island. Very touristy spot.
























On the island still.

























Joe had a blast on that rope swing.



























Siosi was all tuckered out.


























On the island.





























Back at home. Kalo entertaining Grandpa.




























The girls with Grandma.































Hanging around at the house.































Great Grandma Tupou is like 84! The Tongans like to take naps on the floor with these wooden stools under their heads.
































The blow holes. We went on our own little tour of the island. It was kind of crazy with the kids. We were driving all day and the kids don't use carseats there. They were climbing all over the seats and screaming. It was just so hot!


































Me at the blow holes.
































Can't remember what this is called. I don't want to explain it either; so google it.














































































































This one they believed the first king of Tonga used to lean against with a stick and hit at anyone who wasn't supposed to approach him. They say he was 7 feet tall...hmmm...























































































































It was really hot so thats why no shirts.








































Captain Cook's landing.










































Yes, he is holding T.P. We had to take it everywhere because most of the time the bathrooms didn't have soap. I had just gone but this place surprised me and did have it.












































This is a replica of the first Tongan homes.












































We had a big feast the first Sunday we were there. They roasted five pigs!













































Joe's parents.














































































































































This was the day we flew out. We had to drive to L.a. to catch a cheaper flight. Crazy, I know. So we stopped at the L.A. temple to kill some time.

















































15 comments:

Melissa said...

Thank you for sharing your vacation with us! We have a whole (several) families of Tupou's here in Juneau. What an amazing experience for you!

Joel & Lila said...

That is so awesome. Thank you for posting all that, i am sure it took some time. We couldn't believe how big the girls have gotten....we had to keep double taking when we saw pictures of Kalo. At first glance, she looks just like Siosi. WOW! We are also very excited that you guys got to go to the Tongan temple. That must have been amazing. Did they do the session in Tongan or in English? And another girl?? Three little princesses?? Wow, that is fun. Were you hoping for a boy or was a girl just what you were trying for? LOL I know, you are probably excited for either or, but it is still kind of a funny question to ask....now onto the most important question of all, when will we get to see you guys again?

The Leavitt Family said...

I'm so excited that you guys went to Tonga! I've been wondering what you've been up to the last few months. Thanks for posting...it looks so beautiful there!!

Marnie Strasser said...

Wow that is so cool! what a great experience!! and FIVE pigs! that is a lot! Congrats on the baby girl!!

Emily said...

It looks like you had a wonderful time. I'm so happy that Joe was able to go home for a bit and that you were able to meet the family. Congrats on the new girl:) I'm so happy for your happiness:)

becca said...

that looked awesome! do the girls speak tongan?

Leon and Janie said...

That was simply amazing! What an experience! I'm so glad that you got to meet Joe's family. I loved reading about Tonga and the way people over there live...a whole other beautiful world. Thanks so much for sharing! What a wonderful experience.

Sarah said...

Hey! How are you? I haven't seen you in forever! I think the last time I saw you was at my wedding in '02. I can't believe you have two (soon to be three) girls! They are adorable! If you don't mind, I'm going to add your blog to mine (timandsarahrunyon.blogspot.com)
Take care!

Alysha said...

I am so glad I finally checked this out. What an amazing trip!!! And another girl! When is she arriving?

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Anonymous said...

There are many interesting here. Hope to see some more in future

Anonymous said...

Hi there Joe, wife n family!

I am really happy to see this page!
I recently went to see Havili here in New Zealand before he left for Tonga. Ofa lahi atu to you guys....

Salote

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